German Lutheran; b. at Middels, a village of East Frisia, June 29, 1858. He was educated at the universities of Leipsic (1878-79), Erlangen (1879-80, 1882-83), Gottingen (1880-81), and Berlin (1883), was assistant pastor in West-Rhauderfehm, East Frisia (1881-1882), pastor at Baltrum (1883), Nesse (1884), and Detern (1885-94; all in East Frisia). He was then director of studies and a member of the monastery


[Page 449]


Imnmiaatt Imsre of Clod THE NEW SCHAFF-HERZOG 450

necting it with freemasonry. Lodges already in existence were quietly brought under the rule of. the Illuminati, and new lodges were established in which the degrees of the Illuminati were treated as higher grades of masonry. By identifying itself with freemasonry, the order was largely increased, freed from financial difficulties, and protected from persecution. In 1780 the Marquis Von Conetanzo (Diomedes) succeeded in winning at Frankfort Baron Adolf von Knigge, to whom the Illuminati owed the complete structure of their system as well as the larger part of their adherents in Middle and North Germany. Three classes of Illuminati were now formed, one of novices and " minervals," one of freemasons, and one of the students of the mysteries.

The most successful apostle of the order besides Knigge was Bode, a councilor of Duke Ernst of Gotha, who, in Thuringia and Saxony, as well as on the Rhine, secured numerous men of high mnkacholara, poets, and even princes. The movement soon extended from Italy to Denmark, from Warsaw to Paris; the number of members is estimated at 2,000. Goethe, Herder, Ernst II, of Gotha, Karl August of Weimar, Ferdinand of Brunswick, the Prince of Wied, and other secular and spiritual lords were at some time either actual members of the order or counted on its list. But it was inevitable that the morally offensive character of the order and its danger to the state should be detected. In Aug., 1784, a decree was issued in Bavaria prohibiting all secret societies. Embittered by the ungratefulness and arrogance of Weishaupt, Knigge bad retired from the order in 1784. Weishaupt now lost his position at the university and went to Regensburg, then to Gotha, where Duke Ernst granted him the salary of a privy councilor. In 1785, after the discovery of the moral baseness of the order from secret correspondence of Weiehaupt, a sharp persecution began which soon brought the whole institution to collapse.


BIHuoa6A?aT: For a list of literature on the subject con sult G. Kloss, Bibliographic der Freimauremi, nos. 32113275, Frankfort, 1844. The sources are the works of Weishaupt, of which the principal ones are Volleondipe tieschidte der Vwfolpunp der luuminaten, Frankfort, 1786; Apologia der Illuminoten, ib., 1787; Doe roabassats $gstem, ib., 1787; %urae Redhtfartdgunp meinar Abeidfen, with Nadlrap, ib., 1787; Einige Orspiualachriften des Illumir natmordens, Munich, 1786; Svatem and Pokes des l1-luminatenordene, ib., 1787; Die mueden Arbsitm doe Spartacue and PAilo, ib., 1794. Consult also: J. P. 1.. de la Roche du Maine, Essai cur la sods des Illuminbes, Paris, 1792; J. A. Stark, Triumph der Philoeopkie, ii. 259 qq., Regensburg, 1847; H. Brack, Die rationalistiechen Bestrebungen im katholisehen DmtaAland, Mains, 1865.


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely